Home    |    About Us    |    Our Staff    |    Procedures    |    Contact Us    |    Patient Forms
Capsule Endoscopy (small bowel)

A video camera you can swallow allows doctors to see inside the small intestine

  • Painless
  • Non-invasive
  • No radiation
  • No scope, no sedation
  • FDA approved

Capsule Endoscopy is a revolutionary new technology that allows our physicians to see the middle part of your intestinal tract – the small intestine – where no scope can currently go. Our patients can now swallow a wireless video camera about the size of a large vitamin, and then go normally about their day while the capsule records images throughout the digestive tract. This new tool is especially helpful in finding the source of unexplained intestinal bleeding and for detecting Crohn’s Disease.

Jackson County Gastroenterology uses the PillCam SB (small bowel) capsule endoscopy system developed by Given Imaging. It was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in July, 2003 and is already being used in over 1,300 sites in 33 countries.

Prior to the development of this technology, the interior of the small intestine was shrouded in darkness. Upper Endoscopy allowed us to view the first four feet of the digestive tract, and colonoscopy showed us the final six feet, but the 20 feet in between were a mystery.

Now, when other diagnostic procedures fail to determine the reason for your symptoms, you can swallow a tiny video camera inside a capsule. As the PillCam SB camera travels naturally through your digestive system, it can capture more than 57,000 crystal clear images in eight hours, showing your doctor nearly every nook and cranny of your small intestine.

As is the case with most new diagnostic procedures, not all insurance companies are currently reimbursing for this procedure, so you may want to check with our Business Office (816-229-1191) or your health insurance representative to verify your coverage.

Image of normal vilii Image of Crohn's Disease Image of jejunum with
active bleeding

Q: What is the PillCam SB capsule?

A: The wireless capsule is 11 x 26 mm (about the size of a large vitamin) and has a super-smooth coating on it that makes it very easy to swallow. It contains a color video camera, 4 LED lights, batteries and a wireless transmitter. Images are transmitted to a data recorder worn by the patient.

Q: How many images will the capsule capture?

A: In eight hours, the M2A capsule generates about 57,000 images, at a speed of 2 frames per second. These images will be transferred to a computer and converted into a color digital movie which the doctor can then examine. We will contact you with your results.

Q: Will I have to spend all day at the doctor’s office?

A: No! You will need to come to our offices in the morning to swallow the capsule and let us attach sensors to your body. You wear a lightweight belt containing a data recorder about the size of a portable CD player that will receive information from the capsule throughout its journey. Then you can leave and go about your regular activities and return back to our office eight hours later so we can remove the equipment and retrieve the data.

Q: What can I expect?

A: The night before the test, you will need to fast for 10-12 hours, to ensure that your intestinal tract is empty and the camera will have a clear view of the walls of the small intestine. In the morning, you will come to Jackson County Gastroenterology, where our staff will apply adhesive sensors to your abdomen, and help you put on a belt containing the data recorder (about the size of a portable CD player). After that, you can leave and go about your daily activities. The natural muscular contractions of your intestines will move the capsule through your system. You can drink clear liquids after about two hours, and four hours after swallowing the capsule you can have a light meal. At the end of eight hours, you return to our offices and we will remove the data recorder and sensors and download your data into our computers for further analysis. The disposable capsule will pass naturally through your system within 24 hours. Please follow the directions given to you by the staff that will be giving you the capsule as to when to return to the office.